Calling All Volunteers: Best Service Project Ideas for Delaware
Make a difference in a big way while having fun!
Mason jars have become such a popular gift that every big box retailer plans for this and has plenty on stock (and on sale!) during the holiday season. You can do everything from recipes to special kits. I was talking to someone recently from the Common Ground Free Store and the conversation turned to service project ideas for scout troops. We all know that many moms put ourselves last, and it is no different for the moms that go to CGFS. Think about making a spa or manicure kit for a mom at the free store or a pantry. Personal hygiene products are not allowed to be purchased with food stamps because it is a taxable item and these items can add up fast. Try soaps, masks, scrub gloves, lotions, fingernail polish, cotton balls, remover, clippers, files, etc. To make attractive without any decorating skills try to stick to a color theme and just build on that with what you include. Include a gift tag or special note and you are all set.
Consider using a pair of warm socks as the ‘bag’ to hold toiletry items, hand warmers, tissues, cough drops, chapstick, snacks, combs, toothbrush, hand sanitizer. We have several organizations that work with the homeless in Delaware County. Please consider giving your bags to the Andrews House or the United Way of Delaware County for distribution. Or, keep in your car and feel free to distribute as you happen upon someone who could use a blessing.
Include everything you need to throw a birthday party. Cake, frosting, candles, favors, décor, paper goods, etc. Include a small season appropriate gift like sidewalk chalk for summer or snow paint for winter. Common Ground Free Store, Big Walnut Friends Who Share and LSS Food Pantry all accept birthday bags for distribution. My girl scout troop did this and they turned out so cute! We purchased the basic supplies in bulk as a troop and each scout brought a small gift to include for the birthday boy or girl.
No sew blankets
I am the least crafty person but have been making no sew blanket with seniors for the last couple of months and can tell you it is EASY. Simply cut two pieces of fleece the same size by laying over one another to trim. Cut four to five inch fringe around the edges and tie each fringe into a knot. DO NOT move the fleece at all while fringe is cut or you will never realign. Other than that it is a snap. The seniors of Delaware County have been working to donate 100 total homemade blankets to two beneficiaries—Children’s Hospital and My Very Own Blanket. MVOB is a non-profit in Westerville that donates homemade blankets to children in the foster care system.
Thank you package to soldier
You don’t need to do an entire package. You can even make cards and ask the Red Cross to deliver for you. Items for a care package could include gum, candy, energy bars, toiletries, reading material, trinkets for the local children. Please check with an organization first like the Red Cross or a veterans organization to find out guidelines first before putting together. Or, you can go to the web site www.anysoldier.com and find specific requests from soldiers and units around the globe and mail directly to them.
Dog toy from recycled t-shirts
Cut t-shirts into two inch strips. Align strips and knot the top. Braid the strips and knot the other end. Voila! You have made a dog chew toy. The Humane Society, Delaware County Dog Shelter and Canine Collective would love your dog toy creations.
Bed time bags
The United Way of Delaware County and Family Promise are good recipients of these kits for a child that may be placed in foster care on an emergency basis or is otherwise without some good-night supplies. Make or purchase small reusable bags to hold items like a stuffed animal, a blanket, a book, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, etc.
Teaching letters and sounds bags
The Liberty Community Center or Woodward Family Center would be excellent beneficiaries of these literacy skill building kits. Include items like alphabet magnets, letter flashcards, bendaroos, playdough etc. to create a wonderful kit to be used at home or school. Follow this link for a printable http://blog.maketaketeach.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Learning-Letters-and-Sounds.pdf.
Cooking & Baking
This is an oldie but goodie. Make a meal to take to Common Ground or bake cookies for a senior home or family room at a hospice. You can come up with many worthy recipients but the gist is the same—spread cheer with your cooking talent.
Service Scavenger Hunt
Are you looking for something for your church group or scout troop to do together? Consider a service scavenger hunt. Follow this link http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2014/03/service-scavenger-hunt-printables/#_a5y_p=1940896 to see a version that has both to do at someone’s home and in the community. Take out the trash or help someone bring groceries to their car. Take pictures along the way to check off each task and the group with the most tasks completed in the allotted time wins a prize!
Community Christmas Tree
This one we are likely familiar with, but it is especially heartwarming because you know a little about the person or family you are buying for before you even shop. If you have the means, please consider visiting the Walmart on 23 or local churches to find a request from someone.
In the “Stone Soup” story, a stranger enters a village. After the hungry stranger is told there is no food to eat he puts on a large pot of water to boil. One by one villagers walk by to see what is going on. Soon each villager brings one ingredient they can spare and before long there is a large pot of soup with enough for everyone. Ask your service group members to each bring an ingredient from a chosen soup or casserole recipe to a kitchen and then all work together to prepare enough soup for a community meal or casseroles to donate to worthy recipients. Please contact the United Way of Delaware County Hunger Alliance Coordinator for community meal recipients.
Blog writer Melinda Metz is the Senior Leadership Coordinator at Connections Volunteer Center, a program of HelpLine, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.